DICT ‘clarifies’ split with US to assuage rattled BPO firms

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Taken aback at the pronouncement of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte during his state visit to China that he is ?separating from the United States,? the top BPO organization in the Philippines has asked for clarification from the Department of ICT regarding the chief executive?s policy pivot.

DICT

In response, DICT secretary Rodolfo Salalima issued a hastily crafted statement on Friday, Oct. 21, asserting that ?all business investments, contracts and commitments, local and international, in the country and for our country will be honored by the Philippine government, consistent with the non-impairment and due process clauses in the Philippine Constitution and existing laws of the land.?

Salalima, a lawyer like Duterte, said this assurance that no existing contract will be arbitrarily cancelled has been ?pledged? by the president often during meetings.

?The President is sincere on this pronouncement and he will be true to his words,? the DICT chief said.

For its part, the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) said it continues to monitor the developments given Duterte?s pronouncement regarding the country?s military and economic ties with the US.

?We also would like to relay a statement by [Trade] Secretary Mon Lopez during an interview with CNN Philippines in Beijing on 21 October where he said ?In terms of economic (ties), we are not stopping trade, investment with America? The president specifically mentioned his desire to strengthen further the ties with China and the ASEAN region which we have trading with for centuries. But we definitely won?t stop the trade and investment activities with the West, specifically the US.?

IBPAP said it has formally reached out to the Office of the President to secure an audience with Duterte to directly discuss with him the industry?s concerns.

The BPO industry is expected to exceed next year the OFW sector as the biggest dollar revenue earner for the Philippines.

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